Even though Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made much of her travel to Asia this week, she seemed to deliberately exclude mentions of China or Taiwan. Meanwhile, Pelosi linked lobbyists are pushing for China’s social credit system on American citizens.
A number of American lobbying firms, including a few connected to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former President Barack Obama, and unsuccessful presidential contender Senator Mitt Romney, have been enlisted by Ant Group, a payment platform used to enact “vaccine passports” and a “social credit” system in China.
Ant Group is a subsidiary of the Chinese firm Alibaba, which the U.S. State Department previously identified as a “tool” of the Chinese Communist Party and a key component of the establishment of the regime’s “technology-facilitated surveillance and social control.” Ant Group is also the owner of AliPay, a digital payment service Beijing employs to implement vaccine passports that have been used to prevent residents from leaving their homes and confine them to quarantine.
Westerners are concerned about social credit systems because they worry that they would weaponize business and governmental surveillance to limit people’s access to the economy and services based on particular habits or even ideology.
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Despite these worries, Ant Group has a number of American lobbyists working for it, who appear to be helping to expand the business’ operations and reach within the United States.
Ant Group employed four outside lobbying and public relations firms in 2021 and 2022 to assist with goals including “outreach regarding corporate profile and operations of Ant Group and its subsidiary Alipay US.”
On “matters regarding regulatory issues for ANT Group and its subsidiaries,” the OB-C Group has already been representing Ant Group from January 1st, 2022.
Larry O’Brien, a “major Democratic operative,” is one of the company’s consultants operating for Ant Group.
“Mr. O’Brien has been a long-standing participant in the House Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) maximum level individual donor program, the Speaker’s Cabinet, and in the “Pelosi Team 100” program. Over a period of two decades, Mr. O’Brien has had an extensive degree of involvement and interaction with the House Democratic leadership, with myriad Democratic members across a wide array of House committees and with the leadership of the DCCC,” explains his professional bio.
He has also worked “at the most elevated participation level with the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC),” charging its “premier individual donor group, the Legacy Circle, since the inception of the program in 2006.”
“He was designated a “Lifetime Member” of the Legacy Circle in 2014. In addition, he is the recipient of what the DSCC describes as one of the highest honors it can bestow, an award of lifetime membership in its “Majority Trust” program. In the award letter to Mr. O’Brien, Senator Schumer, then Chair of the DSCC, stated, “I can’t think of a more qualified Democrat to receive this honor,”” his bio continues.
Thomas J. Keating, another Ant Group lobbyist working for the OB-C Group, spent more than 13 years as the Director of Police Services in the House of Representatives’ Office of Sergeant at Arms.
According to the OB-C Group’s lobbying registration, a number of other well-known D.C. personalities, such as advisers to the campaigns of George H.W. Bush and Mitt Romney, are also working with Ant Group. The company got a $60,000 retainer for three months of work.
Additionally, Ant Group is now being represented by the advocacy firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, which started working for the Chinese corporation on January 27th, 2022.
Ed Pagano, who worked as Senate Liaison and Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs in the Obama administration, is also working on behalf of AliPay in addition to Democratic legislative staffers and advisers to George W. Bush.
By performing “outreach regarding corporate profile and operations of Ant Group and its subsidiary Alipay US,” Rich Feuer Anderson, a different government affairs firm, started campaigning for AliPay on January 1st, 2022.
Even though Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made much of her travel to Asia this week, she seemed to deliberately exclude mentions of China or Taiwan once she arrived in Singapore.